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Is a Larger Baby Emergency Fund Needed?

Question: Jamie in Texas is working on her baby emergency fund. She’s a contract nurse with no benefits. Is there ever an instance where she should have a larger baby emergency fund?

Answer: I would do $1,000. I would not buy short-term disability. I would buy long-term disability.

You’re destroying a $19,000 car. Let’s pretend for a second that you were worth $1 million and you were going to pay cash for the car. You wouldn’t buy a $19,000 car to put that many miles on. You wouldn’t do it now, especially when you’ve got $19,000 in debt on it. So maybe you don’t move all the way down to a $1,000 beater, but you probably need to be in the $7,000 range just because whatever you’re driving, you’re destroying its value. I’d just borrow the difference and just save up. It may take you a little while to make that move.

It’s weird when you hear $65,000, and half of your debt is car. I immediately go, “How can I help this lady the most the fastest? How can I get her heading the right direction as much as possible?”

That’s what I started thinking about, and that’s the direction I would move you in general. If you’re really concerned about it and you want to move from $1,000 to $2,000 or something because you’ve got irregular work and it’s not predictable and those kinds of things, that’s fine. The point here is you’ve been surviving without an emergency fund for a long time, so there’s no need to save $10,000 before you start trying to get out of debt. You’ve probably got some car moves you need to make, and it’s probably going to take you two years to become debt-free even with that. Just get in there and weigh all of that out.

Here’s the great news about your situation, Jamie: You guys are actually paying attention now. Whatever you do, you’re going to be doing it on purpose with the end in mind—with how we’re going to go win as a result of having done that.

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